Taco Lasagna: Pantry Possibilities

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Having a foundation for your favorite dishes allows you to make the things you love several different ways. Sometimes, it’s about combining items creatively in order to avoid food waste. Other times, it’s simply about trying to use what you already have on hand. When trips to the grocery store are limited, or you just plain don’t have time, it’s comforting to be able to find alternatives to the dishes you love.

Taco lasagna is a dish that boasts flexibility. When it comes to building this lasagna, the possibilities are numerous. In the video below, you will see that I created a vegetarian version, using items I had in my pantry. However, this is only one of many ways you can prepare this lasagna. Read on to discover your own creative take on this dish.

The chart below compares my vegetarian recipe to the varied ingredients you may choose to create your taco lasagna:

Vegetarian Taco Lasagna Ingredients Substitutions and Other Options

  • 12 white corn tortillas



  • any other variety of tortilla
  • lasagna noodles or any other variety of noodle (cooked)

nutrition tip: try to use whole grain products if possible



Vegetarian Mix

nutrition tip: you can substitute rice for quinoa – brown is best – OR omit this step and add more sweet potato

  • 1 can black beans (16oz)
  • 1 cup salsa verde
  • ½ to 1 cup feta cheese (omit for vegan or dairy free)
  • spice blend for added flavor

  • 1 lb ground or shredded meat of choice, browned in spice blend of choice

nutrition tips:

  • for a lean meat, use ground turkey
  • add diced bell pepper, onion, and tomato to your meat for additional moisture, flavor, and nutrition (think creatively: do you have a can of diced tomatoes, peppers, or corn in your pantry?)
  • cut your meat intake in half by browning half of the meat portion with 1 can of beans (black, pinto, garbanzo, kidney) OR a package of mushrooms

Spice It Up

Spice Blend

  • 1 heaping Tbsp. each of chipotle chile powder and cumin
  • 1 tsp. coriander
  • ½ tsp. garlic powder and black pepper
  • pinch of sea salt


Spice It Up

Alternative Spice Options

  • any taco blend you have
  • adobo
  • oregano

nutrition tips:

  • use fresh or canned minced garlic instead of garlic powder
  • add a squeeze of fresh lime juice
  • use only a pinch of salt or omit entirely to reduce sodium intake

Other Layers


  • 2 cups Mexican Blend shredded cheese


  • 1 can green enchilada sauce

Other Layers


  • any shredded cheese of choice, jack and cheddar cheeses work well with the taco flavors and seasonings
  • use dairy free cheese options to make it vegan or for dairy allergies and intolerances


  • anything that adds moisture to your layers: salsa, taco sauce, canned diced tomatoes, even a pizza sauce will work in a pinch!

You’ve shopped your pantry and freezer and have chosen what you will use to create your taco lasagna. Preheat your oven to 375° F. While your oven preheats, you can mix together your vegetarian ingredients or brown your meat in your spice blend (and vegetables, beans, or mushrooms). Now, you’re ready to build your lasagna.


taco lasagna layers

Layer 1 – Sauce: In your baking pan or dish, first coat the bottom with whatever you’ve chosen to add moisture (enchilada sauce, salsa, taco sauce, etc.).

Layer 2 – “Noodles”: Layer in half your tortillas or noodles.

Layer 3 – “Meat”:  Layer in half of your “meat” portion.

Layer 4 – Cheese: Evenly sprinkle half of your cheese.

Repeat: I repeated these layers one additional time (two total) for the results below:

TOP of dish


BOTTOM of dish


When your oven has preheated to 375° F, bake for 30 to 45 minutes until cheese is bubbling and internal temperature is 165° F at the middle. I baked my lasagna covered with aluminum foil for the first 30 minutes and baked uncovered for another 15.


Remove your lasagna from the oven and let stand for about 5 minutes, then serve. Serve yours with guacamole, salsa, a handful of leafy green lettuce, a scoop of Greek yogurt, anything you would normally serve with tacos, and enjoy!

Written By

Amanda Butalla, N.C. Cooperative ExtensionAmanda ButallaExtension Agent, Family and Consumer Sciences Call Amanda E-mail Amanda N.C. Cooperative Extension, Ashe County Center
Updated on Apr 2, 2020
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